Social Media and Body Image

In the age of social media, we are bombarded with a multitude of images. From Facebook to Instagram to TikTok, we see images of men and women daily that we may never be able to become. Cyber bullying is at an all time high resulting in more body image issues. Everywhere we turn, on hundreds of posts, I see what I call keyboard warriors saying some of the harshest things. In this episode of This Fat Girl Life podcast, I spoke with my daughter, Francesca Harmouzi, to discuss her issues with body image and how social media has impacted them.

Transcript

Kimberlee Plezia

So Frankie, you have been on social media for most of your life, correct?

Yeah…

Kimberlee Plezia

Ok, well before we dive in, why don’t you tell the viewers a little bit about yourself…age, who you are, that type of thing.

Francesca Harmouzi

I am 22, almost 23 years old.  I am a single mom in Colorado.  I really like the outdoors.  I love camping, and hiking, and all that kind of stuff.

Kimberlee Plezia

And what made you want to come on this episode and discuss this with the viewers?

Francesca Harmouzi

I think social media is probably one of the biggest influences in today’s world.  And I think that if affects, not only has it affected my generation, but I think that it will determine quite a bit for the next few generations.

Kimberlee Plezia

OK.  Well, I know growing up, social media was not as prevalent for me.  I mean, I’m almost 45.  Yes, I put it out there.  And so, in my younger years, we didn’t have social media.  And when social media started, it was MySpace.  I mean, I remember my MySpace page for crying out loud.  And I have seen social media evolve into, some might say, even a monster at this point.  There is social media for everything.  You on the other hand, social media had been around-God, your entire life.

Francesca Harmouzi

I remember seeing like, little commercials on TV for Facebook telling you to like, create an account, and all that kind of stuff.  

And now it’s TikTok and…

Instagram and…

Kimberlee Plezia

It has evolved.  Social Media has definitely evolved.  So, what kind of images are you normally bombarded with on social media?

Francesca Harmouzi

Right now I’m really bombarded, I have really tried to change how I look at my social media.  Because, whether you think they are or not, your phone listens to what you say.  Your phone realizes what you are looking up and things that attract you and…

Kimberlee Plezia

Cookies.

Francesca Harmouzi

Exactly.  It wants you there more, they want that attention.  So right now, my social media, a lot of it is like baby stuff and a lot of like nature stuff.  My Instagram is filled with nature.

Kimberlee Plezia

But do you see ads or anything or even videos on social media that are different than what you normally would look at or even on your TikTok?

Francesca Harmouzi

On TikTok yeah, I see that all the time.  Different from what I would normally see.

Kimberlee Plezia

Ok.  And so do you feel that you are being bombarded by what should be classified as a norm for standard beauty?

Francesca Harmouzi

Oh yeah.  It’s all over TikTok.  TikTok especially.  It’s, there’s a lot of things.  Cause I’m not the person that wears a lot of makeup, ever.  Even in a full face makeup, it’s really not that much.  And that’s just my personal preference.  But on TikTok, I see all these girls that are like Harry Potter in the makeup world.

Kimberlee Plezia

Oh my, right?!  Oh my God, yes!

Francesca Harmouzi

And I can’t do any of that.  Like, I could buy all the stuff.  I could buy the brushes, I could buy the fancy foundation.  I could do all of that.  But at the end of the day, I still have no clue what I’m doing.  

Kimberlee Plezia

I don’t have those skills.  I’m going to be honest with y’all, I’m wearing eyelashes today, and this took 15 minutes…just to put on the eyelashes.   I’m never worn liquid mascara in my life until today, so I get it.

Francesca Harmouzi

Liquid eyeliner?

Kimberlee Plezia

Or, liquid eyeliner, yeah.  I can’t even say what it’s called.  So, that being said, when you see some of that, how does that make you feel?

Francesca Harmouzi

It makes me feel sort of insignificant, if that’s the right word.

Kimberlee Plezia

Insignificant, or inadequate?

Francesca Harmouzi

I think both.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay?

Francesca Harmouzi

Insignificant because these people are making a living off of doing this kind of stuff, something as simple as putting your makeup on.  And like, I look at that and I’m like “Wow, I’m really not doing anything.  They’re doing something so simple and I can’t even do that.”

Kimberlee Plezia

Ok, so, then what becomes your next step?  Are you searching out how to do it or are you just…?

Francesca Harmouzi

I really want to work to get that stuff off of my social media.  Because I am on social media a lot, and growing up I know that social media influenced so much of how I saw myself and how I acted…

Kimberlee Plezia

Can you elaborate on that?

Francesca Harmouzi

One girl that I watched on YouTube, that was like the biggest form of social media when I was in high school.  And one of the girls that I used to watch had really bad anorexia for a while.  And, she was still getting everything that she wanted.  She was still making that money, she was still hanging out with all of her friends, living that glorious life style in front of the camera.    I don’t know what goes on behind the camera and when the camera is off.  But she was promoting that kind of stuff without knowing it and that made that lifestyle look a lot more appealing.

Kimberlee Plezia

So, I’m going to ask something rather personal.  Is it a lifestyle you ended up pursuing because of it?

Francesca Harmouzi

Somewhat…yeah.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay…what made you stop?

Francesca Harmouzi

I knew that it wasn’t healthy.  I knew that forcing myself to throw up what I just ate, or not eating at all, was extremely unhealthy.  And I knew that if my family found out that I was doing that…that would have been a whole cat out of the bag…

Kimberlee Plezia

Yeah…that makes sense.

Francesca Harmouzi

And I mean you can only hide that stuff for so long.

Kimberlee Plezia

So, all of that being said, what makes you still continue to go on social media?

Francesca Harmouzi

Because of how much I control it.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay…elaborate.

Francesca Harmouzi

There’s a certain sense of, how I was talking about my Instagram.  Every now and then I will see something random, but it’s vey easy to say “I just don’t want to see that.” And so my Instagram is filled with people that, like their lifestyle, like the LaBrandt family, like I love them.  I think they’re great, and like their stuff is on my Instagram.  The stuff that I can use in life, they have children, they can recommend stuff that I can use.  Or my nature stuff.  That’s all on there.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay, what about your other social media feeds?  Because I, as your mom, I know things.  I know that you’re on Facebook, you’re on TikTok, you’re on Snapchat.  You’ve got like what…7 different social media accounts?

Francesca Harmouzi

Well, the difference about Snapchat, is Snapchat doesn’t show you a stream like TikTok.

Kimberlee Plezia

I’m not on Snapchat, so I’m not as familiar.  I’ll be honest.

Francesca Harmouzi

It’s all you. Like you choose the people that you have as your friend. You choose what you post on your story.  You don’t have to watch other people’s stories, you can skip right through them.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay.

Francesca Harmouzi

You don’t even have to click on the stories, but that’s all pictures.  That’s not something that is a “social media”, that’s kinda like a messenger kind of thing.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay…

Francesca Harmouzi

You can send pictures, you can have conversations, but you can’t like…it’s nothing like Facebook or Instagram, nothing like that.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay

Francesca Harmouzi

With Facebook, there’s a lot of stuff that is on my Facebook that, not necessarily body image, because I keep my Facebook very locked down.  I don’t see, like a lot of things that would hurt me image wise or break me down or anything like that.

Kimberlee Plezia

And do you do that intentionally?

Francesca Harmouzi

Yes.  I do all of that intentionally, because I don’t want to see that kind of stuff.  Because I know how it makes me feel.  Growing up, like being a teenager as is, is already hard.  You are going through puberty, you are dealing with everything changing.  You are growing up and everything is changing.  That’s hard enough as it is, and throwing the insecurities that social media causes makes that so much harder.  And I remember feeling all that kind of stuff.  I remember hating everything about myself.  And, don’t get me wrong, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not like all about me, I love myself now but, from where I was….it’s a whole other thing.  Because I forced my social media to change.  Even my YouTube account.  I have forced that to change.  There’s not anything that I used to watch when I was in high school, none of that is there now.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay so, personal opinion time.  Based on what you have said, do you think it is appropriate for kids in high school, teenagers, to have those kinds of social media accounts?

Francesca Harmouzi

In a way, in some ways yes.  Just because, like TikTok specifically, that is a very big platform to express yourself.  And, expressing yourself also comes with confidence.  It makes you feel confident in expressing yourself in those sort of ways.  I think that the problem lays with certain people on social media.

Kimberlee Plezia

Should it be more regulated for teenagers?

Francesca Harmouzi

Yeah.  I mean like for an example, there’s like YouTube Kids, to where it’s all set up and it’s extremely moderated.  It’s like extremely paid attention to and like, they can’t, like you know how if you are playing a video and you pull it down and it will keep playing?

Kimberlee Plezia

No.

Francesca Harmouzi

Well, it does that.  On your phone, if you are watching YouTube you can pull the video down to the bottom of your screen…

Kimberlee Plezia

Oh, Ok.  I know what you are talking about now.

Francesca Harmouzi

Yeah.  On the Kids, it won’t play…it will pause so that the parents know your kid is doing something else.  

Kimberlee Plezia

So, do you, in your opinion, is there a way to do that for teenagers or is there a way to maybe have more of a parental regulation?

Francesca Harmouzi

I wish that  I could think of a way for that to happen, but I also know that when I was in school teenagers were mean as hell.  So, I can only imagine what they’re like now.

Kimberlee Plezia

Same, they were just as mean when I was in school.

Francesca Harmouzi

Yeah, they come up with new names and new jokes and all that …

Kimberlee Plezia

Yes!  Oh my God yes.

Francesca Harmouzi

So, I think kids just need to learn how to behave.  That would be nice.

Kimberlee Plezia

So, so a parent now, what do you hope to instill in your child when he is that age?

Francesca Harmouzi

By the time that he is that age I hope he understands and realizes that he if he is bullying, I’ll kick his ass.  No problem.  I will not deal with the bullying and I will not deal with him putting people down just for fun.  Because it’s not fun, that’s not okay.  It is not okay for someone to be expressing themselves on TikTok and you are sitting there on your phone tapping on your screen talking about what they’re wearing or what’s behind them or whatever. That’s not okay, that’s none of your business.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay.  Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience today?

Francesca Harmouzi

I’m good.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay, and then my final question for you.  And I hope to end every episode that I do with this one question.  What is one thing that you love about yourself?

Francesca Harmouzi

How I am as a mom.

Kimberlee Plezia

Elaborate.

Francesca Harmouzi

I mean, he is a baby, so there’s not like any rules that I can lay down.  But, he’s a good kid and he’s a smart kid and I feel like the child reflects the parent.

Kimberlee Plezia

I’m in trouble then…

Francesca Harmouzi

Yeah.  But he’s a smart kid. He learns fast.  He is already developing a nice little personality, and he’s a fun kid to be around.  And like, I have met babies that are a fricken’ pain in the ass.  They scream and they cry, and it’s rough.  They’re rough babies.  But, I mean, I think I got lucky.  Mac is a super easy kid.

Kimberlee Plezia

You did get lucky.  You totally got lucky.

Francesca Harmouzi

But I don’t know, being a mom like has changed everything about me.  I, compared to who I was even this time last year, is a completely different person.  I see things in a completely different way.  And, I really like what that has done to me.

Kimberlee Plezia

Okay.   Well thank you so much for being my first guest on the podcast, for doing this.  I’d love to have you back on in the future and yeah, I appreciate it.  Thank you.  I can hug you cause your my kid.  I birthed you.

You guys thank you so much for joining me on this episode.  I will be releasing information on our next episode here in the next couple of days.  This will be going live on the podcast on February 1st.

If you would like to be a featured guest, please send me an email at podcast@thisfatgirllife.com.  Or if you just have a comment, make sure to send it to me.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll read it live on the air.

Bye!

Final Notes

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